The Vryll Society graced the iconic Liverpool venue, Magnet, as they psych themselves up for the release of their hotly-anticipated debut album. This was the first performance of a three-date summer residency, courtesy of Club EVOL.
Last year saw the guys touring with their buddies, Blossoms; playing an extensive list of European festivals, including Glastonbury; and a huge, headline show at Invisible Wind Factory. With a limited number of live performances this year, these shows become all the more special and a rare chance to see these space rock sorcerers in a small, hometown setting.
The band emerged onto a dark, smoke-filled stage, breaking straight into their most recent single Sacred Flight. There was no time for hesitation here. Next up was a track from their first EP Pangea. Longtime Vryll fans would be delighted to hear Air, as it never usually makes it on to set lists due to its slow tempo. Nevertheless, this seamlessly transitioned into the first of their dreamy, new creations, The Earth “Tell me what you’d like, if I was on the inside, underneath your skin.” This was followed with set regular, Andrei Rublev, a mid-tempo track laced with emotive guitar riffs.
Beautiful Faces delivered five-minutes of psychedelic mastery. It’s a shining example of the band’s ability to craft complex, guitar-driven melodies with giant, unforgettable choruses. Frontman Michael Ellis’ evocative dancing blended the manic movements of Ian Curtis, the Madchester madness of Ian Brown, and the emancipating grooves of Mick Jagger.
With the crowd nicely warmed up, the band dropped the new trip-hop tune Soft Glue and The Tears We Cry –a song written in tribute to their late manager and founder of Deltasonic Records, Alan Wills. The krautrock, instrumental track When The Air Is Hot boxed off this part of the show.
The set climaxed with a double hit of Perfect Rhythm and Shadow of a Wave, both demonstrating the band’s talent for translating their long, liquid jams into a pop aesthetic. Undoubtedly, the band’s sound was born from sixties, psychedelic artists such as Can and Neu, but these days you’ll find Ellis’ writing process to predominantly include drawing inspiration from his favourite film scores. Nothing exemplifies this more than Perfect Rhythm, which was written as though to compliment the Jean-Luc Godard film Masculin Féminin. Rightly so, this was the song that planted tiny psych-seeds in the minds of both Radio 1’s Huw Stephens, who invited them down for a live BBC Maida Vale session and BBC Radio 6 Music’s Steve Lamacq, who hand-picked them to play at Austin’s SXSW earlier this year.
Shadow of A Wave is due to be the bands next release and contrasts from the esoteric concepts underpinning other Vryll Society lyrics, and is instead a catchy, emotive love song with the chorus line “You know your heart won’t break with me in the middle.” Judging from the warm reception gained by Perfect Rhythm, you can expect their latest track to command presence in the radio waves over the coming months.
The ever enchanting Deep Blue Skies concluded the show. Ellis’ ethereal vocals never fail to induce a dream-like state in all those bearing witness. It evolves into an upbeat, groovy, extended outro that leaves the crowd energized and raring for more.
The band is currently in the process of recording their album in Parr Street Studios, produced and engineered by Joe Fearon and Tom Longworth. These famous Liverpool studios – which have been used by artists such as Echo and the Bunnymen, Oasis and former owner Phil Collins – are also the venue for upcoming performance video for Shadow of a Wave, directed by Peter Fearon. 2018 is set to be a year of galactic proportions for The Vryll Society. Get ready for a big bang. A cosmic experience. An infinite expansion of the mind…
Catch The Vryll Society next on August 25th, with support coming from Strange Collective, The Floormen and The Mysterines.
Words by Rebecca Worthington – The Vryll Society at Magnet, 30th June 2017